Peter Bodo's TennisWorld - Sunday Brunch
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Sunday Brunch 10/04/2009 - 10:00 AM

91186219 Howdy, everyone. With a little help from the gods, Saturday turned out to be a beautiful day here in game-rich Andes, after a week-long forecast of rain. The fall foliage is at it's colorful best, and generally peaks in this neck of the woods on Columbus Day weekend - which is next week.

I'll miss it this year, because Lisa, Luke and I are going to Boston for one of the "Geezerpalooza" weekends that Lisa's college friends organize, whenever seems like a logical or good time for the lot of them to get together. It's a nice tradition, and a great weekend, especially now that so many of her friends also have kids. But in all honesty, the entire concept is a little foreign to me. Unlike my wife, I'm not in regular contact with anybody with whom I went to school - high school or college. Which makes me wonder which way y'all swing on that subject.

For me, it's not a policy, just the way things worked out. And it's not because I live too much in the here and now; I have some good friend whom I've known for ages, but none of them date back to my school years. I seem to be more of the type who forms new relationships as he goes along. Friend relationships are funny; I think there's an inner dynamic that makes them last, or not, and it's got nothing to do with the depth or authenticity of the relationship. Some other, largely automatic factor(s) determine the arc of any given friendship. Maybe the lack of a core group of friends makes it easier to expand your base of friends. This weblog has certainly broadened my pool people I happily call my friends.

Well, maybe that's a good  basis for a Sunday Brunch conversation, maybe not. In either event, there's also some tennis to talk about, what with Gilles Simon in the final at Bangkok and Ana Ivanovic pulling the emergency brake of her career in Beijing, citing an upper-chest respiratory infection. Does anyone else reading the bare-bones AP report get the feeling that there's a little spinning in progress here? What seem like a simple story of a withdrawal due to illness really becomes the story of Ivanovic acknowledging that her year has been dog doo-doo. In a way, it's a fitting end to a year she'd rather forget, and citing a shoulder injury that inhibited her post-Wimbledon performance is another item that suggests that she wants to control the damage.

I don't doubt the authenticity of her complaints,  but it seems pretty clear that Ivanovic has seen the light, and the word it illuminates is "regroup."  Ivanovic won the French Open in 2008, but she's lived in a vale of tears most of the time since then. It's certainly a cruel but not by any means unusual fate; just when a player reaches the top of the mountain, a number of unanticipated factors, ranging from injury to the unexpected pressures that come with the top position kick in. I don't know how you prepare for that,  but it seems to underscore the counter-intuitive theory that you must be very careful not to be too goal-oriented.

Everybody wants to play great, that's a given. But some players seem to focus on achievement to such a high degree that realizing their ambitions leaves them on the edge of the motivational precipice. Or maybe it's the consistency precipice.

If your life's dream is to win Wimbledon, the toughest fate that may befall you is. . . winning Wimbledon. I'm not saying that this is the case for Ivanovic, but there's also no doubt that her fall from the top has been swift and hard enough to make you wonder about her bedrock psychology. If she played great and lost matches, that's one thing. But long before she began to complain of injury, it was fairly obvious that she had a difficult time handling the pressure once she won a major and reached no. 1.

That loss of nerve - for that's exactly what it appears to have been, has been the dominant theme in her struggles, and refusing or failing to face up to the basic problem is a long-term negative. I'd feel better about her future if she had come out somewhere (any help, anyone?) and admitted that the pressures of being the top player simply overwhelmed and crippled her. Trying to rationalize her troubles, or position them as injury-related, only makes it less likely that she'll overcome them. So, while I don't doubt that she's hurt, or that she really wants to regain her former status, I think the road back to the top will have to begin with a look in the mirror. That she has said nothing about failing to adjust to the new, increased demands and expectation she faced as a Grand Slam champion isn't a good sign, for the most overlooked aspect of the champion's mentality is honesty.

And yes, I know it's easy for me to say that. But that doesn't mean it isn't true.

-- Pete

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Posted by Cayman Karen 10/05/2009 at 08:18 AM

OK off to get ready for back to work. Ugh. Take care guys and play nice.

Posted by Master Ace 10/05/2009 at 08:22 AM

Good Morning TWibe,
See where Anastasia, semifinalist at Indian Wells defeating Jelena along the way but her run ended against Ana, defeated Venus for the 2nd consecutive weeks. 14 DFs by Venus is a disturbing sign especially if the ace count is 0. Also, Dinara crashing out in the 2nd round once again. I am wondering that she has finally hit the "fatigue" wall again this year after playing a lot from Stuttgart until now. She had this problem last year where her results were not good after her unexpected win in Berlin to Tokyo, where she crashed early last week after winning in 2008. If Serena makes the semifinals, she will be number 1.

Posted by Mr. and Mrs. D. 10/05/2009 at 08:22 AM

Caymen Karen: I definitely agree with you re Kim having one of the 'freshest' bodies this time of the season and I'm sure it contributed to her success at the USO. BUT, how about the theory that a player coming off an extended leave needs match play. After coming back this year, Sharpie repeated over and over to press she needs more match play. How was 'match play' not necessary for Kimmie?

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Healer of Rafa's Injured Body Parts. 10/05/2009 at 08:27 AM

I wonder what post Pete will write about Safina

Gee he just did one the other day

I will run for cover no doubt

Cause what I said in the last part of my post has come true.

Posted by mick1303 10/05/2009 at 08:31 AM

Cayman Karen, I can accept this explanation, but your original statement "sounded" to me as if you didn't want to give props to Kim.

Posted by mick1303 10/05/2009 at 08:37 AM

Annie, 7:55.
Keep in mind that the main body of work in the Slams Becker did during 80s.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Healer of Rafa's Injured Body Parts. 10/05/2009 at 08:39 AM

I see Phil K has beaten the Dr in this tournament

Posted by Samantha Elin 10/05/2009 at 08:42 AM

Did anyone think that maybe Dina isn't playing like the world's#1 because she isn't and has never been the real world's#1, in spite of all the nonsense that she "earned" it and there is nothing wrong with the ranking. In the end, the truth comes out and that is what is happening now.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Healer of Rafa's Injured Body Parts. 10/05/2009 at 08:44 AM

Really Samantha what the hell is a world no 1 suppose to be like in your eyes

Posted by manuelsantanafan 10/05/2009 at 08:47 AM

Sorry I wasn't around to do a Robredo match call.

And I'll skip doing a Li Na match call. The last Li Na match call I did (involving Jankovic) went something like:

UFE, UFE, winner, DF, UFE, winner

Rewind and repeat

Rewind and repeat.

Hoping a Juanqui-Almagro stream is provided.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Healer of Rafa's Injured Body Parts. 10/05/2009 at 08:49 AM

Manuel yes I would have loved your call on Tommys match

6-2,6-1 was the score.

Posted by sokol 10/05/2009 at 08:55 AM

Hi, everyone.

Kolya won beating Verdasco in the final. Good for him.

Dinara crashed out again, that is sad, she continues to struggle. Good news is that Sveta is through to the third round. And Nastya beat Venus again? Davai!

Posted by manuelsantanafan 10/05/2009 at 08:57 AM

And another reason I won't do a match call is becuz mine suck for the most part.

I have a hard time paying attention for more than two-three points in a row, let alone an entire game.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Healer of Rafa's Injured Body Parts. 10/05/2009 at 08:58 AM

Manuel Chicken.

Posted by sokol 10/05/2009 at 09:01 AM

"Dina isn't playing like the world's#1 because she isn't and has never been the real world's#1, in spite of all the nonsense that she "earned" it"

she did earn it, playing well consistently week after week she reached 2 GS finals. Especially during RG she looked like a solid #1 to me, too bad she froze in the final.
Are you a Dinara hater, Samantha? because if I would say that Caro didn't earn to be #5 in the world (which I obviously think she eraned fairly) because she played soo many tournaments (more than anyone in the top 10) and that's how she got all those point you would label me as Caro hater :-)

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Healer of Rafa's Injured Body Parts. 10/05/2009 at 09:02 AM

Well its time for me to get some sleep

Before I turn into a Pumpkin or similar

I guess there will be more to say on Safina etc

She needs a break that is obvious.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 10/05/2009 at 09:03 AM

After del Potro does his lower choppers, he should consider chest implants, so he can look like the the Ricardo Montalban character in the Star Trek "Wrath of Khan" movie.

Posted by sokol 10/05/2009 at 09:04 AM

Will JJ play this week? Wasn't she injured? Will she withdraw?

Posted by Mr. and Mrs. D. 10/05/2009 at 09:05 AM

Go Sokol!!...I'm labeling you a nonsense hater:)

Posted by sokol 10/05/2009 at 09:08 AM

"what the hell is a world no 1 suppose to be like in your eyes"

I would think for Samantha it should be Scandinavian, even if that means that it's going to be "moonballing #1" :-)

Posted by manuelsantanafan 10/05/2009 at 09:10 AM


I admire your intentions, but please realize that there is a "reason hole" section on this blog where reason "goes to die," i.e., disappears.

No matter how much reason you may direct into that area, your efforts will not be rewarded.

Posted by sokol 10/05/2009 at 09:12 AM

I hope Kuzzy has a nice tournament. She's my favorite in this tourney.

Posted by sokol 10/05/2009 at 09:18 AM

"I wonder what post Pete will write about Safina
Gee he just did one the other day
I will run for cover no doubt"

I will join you, AM

Posted by mick1303 10/05/2009 at 09:20 AM

In 2009 (not including this week) Safina has win-loss record 54-13 (total number of matches 67, ratio is 4.15). Wozniaki has 62-18 (total number of matches 80, ratio is 3.44). Now how is a point-chaser here? Who’s ranking is inflated by excessive play?

Posted by mick1303 10/05/2009 at 09:21 AM

It should read "who is a point-chaser", not "how.."

Posted by first 10/05/2009 at 09:26 AM

Aussiemarg says "Really Samantha what the hell is a world no 1 suppose to be like in your eyes"

of course, the real world no. 1 will be Scandinavian! Duh(as opposed to all the fantasy world WTA and ATP; why the heck would players be tired in such a scenario?)

Posted by Master Ace 10/05/2009 at 09:29 AM

I may have forgotten but how did you come up with the ratio(ie - Dinara 4.15)?

Will be interesting on who Pete will do his next WTA post on? Will it be Dinara, Venus, or who?

Posted by first 10/05/2009 at 09:30 AM

Caro point-chaser-extraordinaire real-world boring player :-)

Posted by sokol 10/05/2009 at 09:39 AM

Li Na leveled the match by takin second set. I hope she can take the third.

Posted by sokol 10/05/2009 at 09:45 AM


Posted by Bhai Mirzai 10/05/2009 at 09:51 AM

Master Ace:

Mick103's ratio is ratio of W/L

Dinara = 54/13 = 4.15
Caroline = 62/18 = 3.44

Posted by manuelsantanafan 10/05/2009 at 09:53 AM


Li Na breaks back to 3-3. At least the last point had over 8 ball strikes.

Posted by Master Ace 10/05/2009 at 09:56 AM

Bhai Mirzai,
Thanks. Now, Lucie to serve 3-4 final set

Posted by manuelsantanafan 10/05/2009 at 09:57 AM

UFE by me on my 9:53.

There were only six points in that game, so only six points could have ended on a UFE.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 10/05/2009 at 10:03 AM

Grad student,

Thanks for the nice aggregation work. It confirms mist of what I've long suspected--namely that Federer's achievements are out of this world great (ompletely undermining any arguments the Nadal KADs have for putting their man ahead of him), and that Roddick may indeed have a HoF career, when all is said and done.

In particular, you later write: "Roddick is very underrated. I devised a point system for the Open Era (components include slam titles, slam finals, slam semis, slam quarters, career titles, Davis Cup singles record, Master Series Titles, YEC performance, yearend rankings, etc.). In this system, he comes in at #20. I Think it is misleading to judge players solely by number of slam titles. That is the single most important rubric. But it is not the only rubric.

"One last thing I would to say to everyone about Fed. Before 2004, he only advanced past the 4th round in slam three times (QF of French in 2001, QF of Wimbledon in 2001, Championship at Wimbledon in 2003). So, basically, he ran up the ungodly number beside his name in just six years!"

I've written as much, biut without the particulars to substantiate my claim, except for Federer's amazing six years, on a few times here.

Nice work, continuing what Grad student had begun.



Those top five numbers are amazing. We can see how far ahead of the rest of the field Federer, Sampras and Agassi are. It'd be interesting to see what Lendl's, Connors', Borg's and McEnroe's totals look like.

Also, I was glad to see Kafelnikov up there. While he might not be the most appealing player to take the courts--especially given his propensity to follow the money--his results were stellar, and he did win two majors and contributed greatly to Russian Davis Cup efforts. Does anyone believe he'll be inducted into the HoF?

Also, how about that Todd Martin? It appears he was a "big match" player if there ever was one. He also, paradoxically, was a big match choker. But we mustn't deny him his place, just as we wouldn't deny Novotna hers. Maybe not HoF material, but pretty darn close.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 10/05/2009 at 10:04 AM

My negativity kills the stream.

Another stream that may work at:

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 10/05/2009 at 10:04 AM

Sorry... I meant to write, "Those top three numbers are amazing." Crud.

Posted by linex 10/05/2009 at 10:14 AM


This is a delayed reply to your questions on page 1 of the Sunday Brunch post. Sorry I just saw it because I went to sleep early yesterday.

First, yes the one and one with Willy is not a bad idea. It is not as if your intention is to steal him from his brazilian model girlfriend. But at least you would be able to talk to him and his friends and get some valuable tennis lessons. Do you imagine your self chasing down balls a la Willy gladiator Cañas ...

Second, on the Argentine Davis cup doubles team I guess Nalbandian and Del Potro should play together. That is the best pairing for now. They are both the best returners and while David is not as good as server as Chucho he has a better overall game and on court intelligence than the former. The downside could be fatigue for Sunday´s matches. But still doubles is never as exhausting as Singles and David is used to it.

Third, I agree with you that the Pico and Stepanek pairing is beauty and the beast. What a strange couple, I wonder when did they make friends. I read in Argentine´s people magazine that Pico is dating a cute model named Maria del Cerro. As you see he likes celebrities, his former girl friend was an actress. In Argentina they call all these cute models and actresses that chase tennis players "raqueteras" with certain disrespect. As if they were after the money and fame to enhance their own careers with all the attention that these players get in our country.

Siblily your are welcome it was my pleasure to report from the Vilas Club. They will play this week in Montevideo in a club I usually visit which is the Carrasco Lawn Tennis. I will not be able to attend but my brother will be around because he is in charge of the catering for the tournament. He will probably meet Lapentti, Gaudio, Zabaleta, Chela et al.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 10/05/2009 at 10:20 AM

Slice-and-Dice writes:

Thanks for the nice aggregation work. It confirms mist of what I've long suspected--namely that Federer's achievements are out of this world great (ompletely undermining any arguments the Nadal KADs have for putting their man ahead of him), . . .


Have fun "undermining" the fact that Rafa has a 13-7 head-to-head record against Federer.

Have fun "undermining" the fact that Rafa has a 5-2 head-to-head record against Federer in majors.

Have fun "undermining" the fact that Rafa has a 13-7 head-to-head record against Federer.

Have fun "undermining" the fact that Rafa accomplished far more on the pro tour by the time Rafa turned 23 than did Federer by the time Federer turned 23.

Posted by Andrew 10/05/2009 at 10:26 AM

Slice-n-Dice: I enjoy watching Federer play, and win, more than any player I've ever seen. Notwithstanding (ie I'm not a Nadal KAD), it's much too early to write that Federer's and Nadal's results allow us to conclude which player will eventually be seen as the better Slams performer.

For example, suppose (hypothetically) that Nadal has two seasons in 2010 and 2011 which net 3 GS titles in each year (6 overall). You could then be in a situation where the two men had 15 titles (assuming Federer doesn't pick up either of the other two) and 12 respectively, with Nadal at age 25 still with a decent career ahead of him.

I have done some stats work of my own on this topic: if you (or anyone else) is interested, eMail me and I'll forward a pretty big Excel file. My preliminary conclusion (I'll likely write it up at the end of the year) is that Nadal is very much in the conversation with the top tier of the Open Era, plus some increased respect for Ivan Lendl.

Posted by lollipop (Elfole forever) 10/05/2009 at 10:27 AM

Nole confirms that now he has 2 coaches--
Beijing Presser:

Posted by Andrew 10/05/2009 at 10:29 AM

msf: do you have some kind of special "alert" function on your computer that flashes when it spots something disrespectful to your favorite player? Just askin' :-)

Posted by lollipop (Elfole forever) 10/05/2009 at 10:30 AM

and something annoying that he said, from Novak's presser.

"I will try to get used to the weather and the time zone – the jet leg. As you can see in the second set I was a little bit sleepy, but hopefully I can play well in the next game."

Geez, man. lame excuse. sleepy? during a match?

Posted by Bhai Mirzai 10/05/2009 at 10:31 AM


I thik this criteria (devised by Grad Student --- used by mick1303 over an expanded period) is bit misleading. I think Agassi gets the benefit because of a much longer, but much less illustrious, career compared to Pete Samprass.

And there is no way Nadal can be that far behind in any useful method. He has won many many masters (I do not know if he has the record or Agassi still has it) and 6 GS titles. And Agassi has about as many MS titles and only a few more GS titles. But Agassi gets the benefit of a LONG career.

Posted by Bhai Mirzai 10/05/2009 at 10:35 AM


+1. I agree. I do not think that Nadal can be rated that far behind. And I have not even done any statistical work.

By the way numbers are not very rigid --- they can be twisted to give you whatever picture you want to see. One just has to know what numbers to use.

Posted by Master Ace 10/05/2009 at 10:36 AM

Agassi still leads in Masters title with 17 but Nadal and Federer are right there with 15. When 2010 French Open comes, Nadal should be the all time leader in Masters title with at least 18. Federer said many times that a Masters event is harder to win than Slams because you are playing the top players from the beginning.

Posted by Mr. and Mrs. D. 10/05/2009 at 10:42 AM

MA: Agree with Roger re difficulty of players from the beginning and, in most cases, without a day's rest between matches. (I'm willing to back down on this if the 'five-set' argument is brought up):)

Posted by wilson75 10/05/2009 at 10:45 AM

Master Ace: I think Federer pulled ahead of Rafa to 16 Masters titles when he won Cincy in August.

Posted by Caroline 10/05/2009 at 10:47 AM

MA - I think you'll find that Cincinatti was Roger's 16th Masters Series win. I hardly dare say this for fear of fanning any Fedal controversy!!! Interestingly today I was checking the rules on Masters Series participation. Probably everyone else knows this already, but Roger can skip one without any penalty (I was wondering because of Shanghai) because he's played more than 600 matches. From the 2011 season he will be able to skip 2 because he will have had 12 full years on the tour. When a player has played 600 matches, has 12 years on tour and is 31 he can skip them all!

Posted by Master Ace 10/05/2009 at 10:52 AM

Yep, Roger is indeed at 16. I was using memory for that number as I remember that they said Roger tied Rafael at Madrid. Thanks for the information about the ATP related to skipping Masters event.

Posted by Master Ace 10/05/2009 at 10:52 AM

Thanks also as I was using memory on when Roger tied Rafael at Madrid.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 10/05/2009 at 10:55 AM


Short answer: Yes.

Wish I could explain how the alert function works but it was devised by an IT friend of mine who used pertinent knowledge I don't have. :)

Posted by VC 10/05/2009 at 11:11 AM


Short answer: Yes.

Wish I could explain how the alert function works but it was devised by an IT friend of mine who used pertinent knowledge I don't have. :)"

manuelsantanafan : You're not joking? That tool would have to have quite an AI/Natural Language Processing ability to detect anything remotely disrespectful... Sounds extremely interesting. I think you're just joking.. :-)

Posted by london 10/05/2009 at 11:12 AM

i think im officially done caring about how venus does. she has dissapointed me enough this season. after her dissapointing loss to marion bartoli at stanford, her wheels just came off. i dont expect to see them come back on anytime soo. she also needs to get that serve fixed soon. she is having a serious double fault issue right now!

Posted by Tfactor 10/05/2009 at 11:15 AM

A quick post to congratulate Gilles Simon's fans, in particular Jackie -she must be very happy (wherever she is right now) :)

Do any Rafa 'Kads' really put Rafa ahead of Roger in anything other than the head to head? I mean Roger is even ahead in age ;)

Seriously though, nobody can't deny Roger's greatness and regardless of age it's very difficult to imagine anyone surpassing his achievements any time soon.

Posted by VC 10/05/2009 at 11:16 AM

BTW, it's true to state that Nadal has outperformed Federer H2H and in an age-wise comparison. Hard for Federer fans to swallow, but true. None of it, of course, takes away from what Federer has achieved in his career. It does add a lot of gloss to Nadal's career achievements in comparison to those who are currently in the same tier as him though (Edberg, Becker, Wilander etc...), and Nadal can move considerably up the ladder in future.

It must also be kept in mind that Federer's unreal consistency enables him to raise the bar for the rest of the tour, irrespective of any individual H2H troubles he may have, and that can only be a good thing for men's tennis as a whole. :-)

Posted by Caroline 10/05/2009 at 11:23 AM

You're welcome MA - for anyone who is interested, in the light of all the discussions about Rafa's schedule, he is currently on 474 matches so will probably get the benefit of the 600 matches exemption from 2012. He will get the 12 year exemption in 2014. Roger has played 829 matches.

Posted by VC 10/05/2009 at 11:27 AM

I don't necessarily agree that MS titles are harder to win than Grand Slams, but pose different challenges. I love the best-of-5 format of Slams and the heightened pressure, history etc. of each event make them more rewarding and prestigious. Murray and Federer are seemingly at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to "peaking" for those events. However, Federer hasn't exactly done badly this year in MS tourneys either, has he? And Murray is only 22, so he has plenty of time to get things right in the Slams as well.

Nadal has an outstanding record in MS events, however he does have one thing going in his favour, with 3 MS events held on clay each year. He has 6 Slams and 15 MS titles, Fed has 15 Slams and 16 MS titles, but we must remember that there are no MS level tournaments held on grass. Take away his 6 Wimbledon titles and the disparity between his Slam and MS titles is not so large.

Posted by tennisfan76 10/05/2009 at 11:28 AM

Samantha - yes,we get it, you hate Dinara! Maybe you should consider how you feel when someone insults Caro and extend that sensitivity to Dinara's fans. Of course she's the real number 1, and like her brother said at the USO, she didn't make the rankings.
What would do her the power of good is a little independence from her coach, her tendency to look at him after every point is kind of irritating tbh. I think it'd also be a good thing if Serena did become number 1, seeing as she has the self belief/mental toughness to deal with it. Maria Sharapova or Justine Henin would also be good candidates imo. Ana and Dinara both have the tendency to overanalyse situations, some time off will be good for both players. I'm not really a Dinara or Ana fan, my favourites are Maria, Serena and JJ. And when Justine comes back next year, I'll be a very happy woman :)
Oh good, cosmetic dentistry has come up again. I don't see why people getting their teeth fixed is "going all Hollywood", that's just perverse. My teeth are OK, but if I had the money I'd get more veneers, because they can make a lot of difference to your confidence. Despite what you've heard about British people, some of us have (and value!) nice teeth :)
Although I prefer Rafa to Roger(just as I've always liked the Captain more than either of them), I don't see why some posters feel the need to denigrate RF's achievements when praising RN. Or vice versa. They're both great players and (seemingly) decent people, let's be grateful for that shall we? I just wish Rafa would listen to Roger about scheduling, esp. when many of the changes he made to win Wimbledon (and the AO) should make his life a bit easier on court. I think he should drop Rotterdam and trim his clay court schedule, though I'm not sure what he should miss out. Barcelona's the obvious one seeing as Madrid is
(unfortunately) mandatory, though I understand its sentimental importance to him. What about Monte Carlo or Rome?

Posted by Master Ace 10/05/2009 at 11:32 AM

Pete has posted Your Call for today

Posted by manuelsantanafan 10/05/2009 at 11:35 AM

Regarding who is better regarding Federer and Nadal, the best approach I have seen is that of withholding judgment until both of their careers are over.

An imperfect analogies can be drawn between the Duke Snider-Willie Mays situation of the 1950s and that of Nadal and Federer.

Snider and Mays were the two best center fielders in the National League during the 1950s. Both eventually made the Baseball Hall of Fame located in the U.S.

Snider was about five years older than Mays, just as Federer is about five years older than Nadal.

In the early 1950s, largely because Snider had been in the major leagues longer than Mays, Snider had better career numbers than Mays. However, to use those numbers to say that Snider was a better player than Mays would have been questionable, in light of their relative abilities. Eventually, after their careers were over, Mays had the far better numbers.

As noted above, this analogy is imperfect. For example, many would argue (and I wouldn't disagree) that Federer is superior to Rafa in more important facets of tennis than is Rafa as many would have argued (correctly, I believe) that Mays was superior to Snider in more important facets of playing baseball.

I'm more or less happy enjoying watching Rafa and Federer play and reserving judgment about their careers when both are over.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 10/05/2009 at 11:38 AM

Well, I see that manuelsanatanafan took my bait. Nice!

But really guys, I did not say that we were finished looking at Federer's and Nadal's careers. So yes, it may be that in the end, when all is said and done, Nadal's accomplishments will stack up nicely against Federers. But, for the record, I have my doubts.

H2H is not even close to the top of my list of important indices of a player's career, for obvious reasons that have been stated and debated on this blog ad nauseum. But for one example, look at Sampras v. Krajicek. Would anyone in their right mind suggest that Krajicek was the better player? I seriously doubt it. Did he have Pete's "number" -- perhaps. But if they were to play 100 times on a variety of surfaces, something tells me Sampras would emerge with a better H2H.

All I am saying is that seen with an impassionate eye (stats don't lie), Federer's accomplishments (as seen by the computer) surpass al the others in the past 20 years, even Sampras and Agassi. And that's something that canot be taken away from him. Now, if Nadal can post similar results over the next five or six years, maybe the computer will like himj just as much, or more.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 10/05/2009 at 11:49 AM


I was joking. Although I used to do regulatory work for a an IT dept. (the product of an unholy union of regulators, telecomm wonks and computer geeks) and got along with the computer geeks, I admired their abilities from afar.

Slice-n-Dice. Yes, I rose to your bait like a bull goes for the torero's cape (no matter the color, bulls are color-blind).

Like I've said before repeatedly (and I believe you wouldn't disagree with this approach), I'd prefer to wait for the careers of Rafa and Federer to play out before coming to conclusions as to who had the better career. Obviously they will both finish with great careers, both among the best in tennis history.

Meanwhile, Ferrero and Almagro are having a dogfight in their match.

Posted by VC 10/05/2009 at 11:52 AM

manuelsantanafan : Ah, OK. Thanks for confirming. :-)

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 10/05/2009 at 11:56 AM

I would wholeheartedly agree to reserve final judgment on the comparative careers of Federer and Nadla until they have both retired. That doesn't mean that I cannot offer my assessment today, however. Even if I might have to eat my words at some point in time.

Suffice it to say that for now, I am content to watch and learn from both of these phenomenal athletes. The fact that their game styles and their personalities are so different makes it all the more captivating.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 10/05/2009 at 12:06 PM

MSF: laughed at your depiction of delpo as Khan in the Wrath of Khan. new nick for him? khan!!!

Posted by mick1303 10/05/2009 at 12:09 PM

MA, Slams cumulative rankings are only one of components in my “weighted ranking” approach.
Now, that I’ve collected the data starting 1990, the overall numbers for Federer and Sampras are incredibly close. It may happen though, that when I will add 1989 and 1988, the numbers for Sampras would go down rather than up. These years he was a youngster and was losing more often, therefore his “relative” components (win-loss ratio, ranking per tournament entered and share of tournaments won out of all entered) may decrease, while the numbers for cumulative components (ranking in Slams, ranking in non-Slams, N of matches won, N of tournaments won) of course will increase. But he didn’t win any tournaments before 1990 and to my knowledge never went really deep in Slams either before 1990. So we’ll see.

The total “weighted ranking” looks like this:


Interesting that Lendl is already at #22 and 90s were the times of his decline. I expect to see him very high on the list in the end.

Posted by Peg 10/05/2009 at 12:54 PM

tennisfan76 - Word!

Caroline - neat info about the exemptions. Among other things, it raises the probability of older players sticking around for the 2012 Olympics, IMO.

Posted by robert 10/05/2009 at 12:58 PM

Went over to that blog links re Delpo's gnashers. Yikes. How unnatural can you look? Granted, his teeth were spaced, somewhat irregular and yellowish, but now he looks like a senior citizen with a big white denture.

And, I disagree with the notion of "good" radical dental work. Once you change your teeth for the artificial ones, you lose your natural looks and start to look, well, artificial. All character and spunk is gone from your face. Your porcelain teeth might look better than your own teeth, but only if you look at them separately, on a dentist's tray, outside of your whole face and personality. Look at the video, how horrible and tense Delpo's smile has become. His imperfect face does not go with the new, "perfect" teeth.

Reminds me of Nicol Kidman's lips: before, they were thin and sharpish like her own nervous self; after, they are plump and slow, totally out of character. Besides, looking like you've kissed hot iron is NOT a good look on anyone.

Or those sad TV shows where unkempt people with average looks get a makeover, ending up looking freakish, when all that was needed was some new clothes and a haircut.

But, I'm rambling. Delpo went dental. What's next, Kolya having hair plugs?

Posted by Babe 10/05/2009 at 01:20 PM

"In addition to the call in the Capriati match, I am wondering whether Serena just finally snapped. All those years of bad calls against her, the memory of that particular USO q/f match etc., and the poor girl just snapped."

That has been on my mind since that incident, CaymanK--it was mentioned by a writer for the AP, i think. I believe she has kept a lot of stuff bottled up & that coupled with the frustration at herself for being unable to shake the nerves in that semi--she simply snapped.

Posted by Babe 10/05/2009 at 01:27 PM

"Caymen Karen: I definitely agree with you re Kim having one of the 'freshest' bodies this time of the season and I'm sure it contributed to her success at the USO. BUT, how about the theory that a player coming off an extended leave needs match play. After coming back this year, Sharpie repeated over and over to press she needs more match play. How was 'match play' not necessary for Kimmie?"

Mr & Mrs. D--Sharapova is coming back from surgery--albeit a minor one; but surgery nonetheless. She has been hampered with that shoulder issue for the better part of a year. Plus, she is not the natural athlete that Clijsters is. She lacks the mobility, the speed. If her a-game is off, she can't switch gears because she can't defend.

Unlike, Clijsters, she also had to deal with expectations--something Kim will have to worry about now that she has one her second major. People are already calling her the BEST--ridiculous, but that is what unrestrained hyping can do. She will have a lot to live up to in 2010--lets see what happens.

Posted by Master Ace 10/05/2009 at 01:47 PM

Good point about expectations and how players will perform.

Posted by Babe 10/05/2009 at 02:14 PM

Good point about expectations and how players will perform."

Yep, MA--I always get exasperated listening to all the over-excitement when something unexpected happens. Of course, people fail to understand that the reason why it happens is because it is "unexpected". The key is to wait & see how that person performs after the initial 'shock-win'. Clijsters is a jock but she was never a mental giant--I'll be interested in seeing how this early success affects her down the road.

Posted by david 10/05/2009 at 02:44 PM

Sharapova came back from shoulder surgery, her road to recovery was always going to be harder and tumultous than Clijsters. And I agree w/ everyone about Clijsters, to me she hit a purple patch at the right moments. She was playing w/ zero pressure and never played against a top player playing well (which is easy since 0 top players are playing well). I think when the pressures on and she has a target on her back those UE she was making will add up quickly and w/ all the pushers on tour she'll be back to hearth and home faster than you think.

Posted by Aube 10/05/2009 at 03:40 PM

Cayman Karen,
I'm happy I get to read what I've been thinking all along whenever I read somebody talk about Serena should be banned or this or that,if I'm Venus and Serena,if you suspend me even for Indian Wells that they known to have boycotted ever since, I will simply retire,disappear from the face of the WTA tour,go get married,get a family of my own where you'd ultimately feel UNCONDITIONAL love and see truly who the loosers would be,definetely not the WILLIAMS' about haters waiting to kill their legacy!!!pfffffffffffffffffffffff!!!

Posted by Grad Student 10/05/2009 at 03:51 PM

Mick 1303,

Thanks for sharing your numbers. In my system, for the Open Era, Lendl is number three, just barely behind Sampras.

It is interesting how some all-time greats (I think immediately of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Margaret Court, and Lendl) are barely acknowledged as being among the most elite of the elite. No one talks of Court as GOAT, but she is clearly in the top 5 (and has a superior resume to BJK). Few think of Lendl as one of the top 3-4 or players of the Open Era. But he clearly was. Meanwhile, Kareem should be in the conversation of best basketball player ever, but rarely is.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 10/05/2009 at 04:35 PM

Grad Student: Aussie Marge always mentions Court as the GOAT (even though I think it's navratilova) but i know what you mean. Lendl isn't in the conversation nearly enough. Poor guy just wasn't very popular. Shouldn't effect his place in tennis history.

Posted by Grad Student 10/05/2009 at 05:01 PM


I agree with you on Martina. In terms of the Open Era, I would rank the top four as: 1) Martina 2) Evert 3) Graf 4) Court.

Posted by Mr. and Mrs. D. 10/05/2009 at 05:37 PM

Babe and david: thanks for your thoughts on this.

Posted by david 10/06/2009 at 03:47 AM

wow maria gets an insane amount of support in beijing.
totally weird.

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